Our Water, Life giving… but is it also of a quality that might harm us?
Douglas R. Workman
Master Water Specialist
Liberty Pure Solutions, Inc.
I hesitate to use that title because fear is not the right reason to do anything. The fact is a lot of us haven’t even tested our water, nor asked any important questions about it. Through helping my neighbors deal with water quality issues for the past 30 years, I have learned how to deal with a wide variety of contaminants. Arsenic, nitrates, radium, radon, pesticides, herbicides and metals such as copper and Lead, can cause negative health effects on the human body, young and old, born and unborn.
There are also numerous nuisance contaminants such as low pH which can corrode metal pipes causing blue green stains on sinks and eventually leaks due to pin holes in the pipes. Total dissolved solids and hardness can cause scale build up in pipes and water heaters, spotting on dishes, shower doors, sinks, and fixtures, or ruin appliances years before you should have to replace them. Or iron could ruin your favorite outfit the next time you do laundry.
Chlorides from road salt and other sources have contaminated hundreds of wells in the area, ruining appliances, clothes, and pipes due to their aggressive nature. Baltimore County had a program to help its citizens but now has stopped. Harford County Council has a task force but to my knowledge has yet to take any action on the dozens, probably hundreds of homes with chlorides in their wells. Unfortunately, this is often in lower income areas as well. A simple tax break, low interest loan or other solutions would be helpful.
It is impossible for any government agency, local or national, to solve this issue for the entire nation. As Americans we think we have the right to clean water. We have the right to pursue happiness. I believe our government, State, local and national is the best in the world and I wouldn’t want to live anywhere else. That being said, I lock my doors, and I have an alarm on my office to deadbolt and lock out the people that would seek to harm me, my employees and my family because it is my responsibility. I pay my taxes, and drive on the roads paid for by the taxes. My taxes go towards the services of the Army, Navy, Airforce, Marines, Homeland security, etc, however I still worry about my family, and my neighbors and take action to protect them.
Most of the water issues I mentioned above can be handled for less cost than addressing the damage they cause. The local health department can help guide you as to what is a water-related challenge in your area. Local state-certified drinking water testing labss can also often advise you on what has been found in your general area, and therefore what to test your water for.
My company as well as a lot of my competition offer free water testing and estimates (advice). When selecting a company, check their rating, water treatment certifications (wqa.org), find out about previous complaints through the Better Business Bureau (BBB), and most importantly, talk to the neighbors about water treatment providers. Get more than one estimate. It takes time but we are talking about one of the most important decisions you can make. Do business with a company that can support what they sell and has a track record. And if you think you are being swindled by misleading sales tactics, contact the Water Quality Association (wqa.org or 630-505-0160) or the BBB (bbb.org) to get an independent opinion.
I’ve heard a lot from customers for over 30 years. Those on city water tell me they have been drinking this water all their lives, and can’t afford water treatment. Municipal water is great; they do an excellent job, however, we know that chlorine byproducts cause cancer, we know that we get boil water alerts, warnings about high lead and nitrate levels in Schools. Look into PFAS and PFOS; they’re contaminants that are all over the news but not yet regulated by the EPA. That means the municipality does not have to treat the water for them. These emerging contaminants, along with cryptosporidium and other issues are causing illness on a regular basis. Our municipalities, NSF, WQA, WHO, and FDA are all working to give us the best product possible, but at the end of the day, you must choose if you want to risk your family and your health on what may or may not be in the water. Remember, we still put locks on our doors and alarms, even though we have the best police around. Its time to seriously consider a deadbolt and lock to keep your water at the quality you choose.
I also want to state clearly that Harford county-provided water meets or exceeds standards set by the EPA and does a fantastic job helping where they find issues. What I am trying to stress is that you need to take care of yourself. The Government must do what is best for all Citizens, however, your well is unique and should be heavily guarded and “treated” by you.
The annual water report states: “Last year, as in past years, your drinking water met all EPS and State health standards”. However, while Atrazine, Ethylene dibromide, Radium, PFAS, Chlorine, and Sodium are all below the EPA standard (municipal water) they are all present in the drinking water at a level that EPA says is safe.
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